Monday, June 02, 2008

Rhetoric of Law Schools

The standard course grading system in United States colleges and universities is A, B, C, D, F. A five grade system. For most graduate and professional schools that effectively collapses into a four grade system since D and F are effectively the same (I been a student in 3 graduate schools and a faculty member in a couple others and I've never seen a grad program that will give a student credit for a course he got a D in).

Now we learn that our nations leading law schools are all deviating from the norm. Pretty edgy stuff. Tbey've established 4 and 5 point grading systems that use words instead of letters to represent grades.

Stanford’s new system — which will award grades of honors, pass, restricted credit and no credit — resembles that at Yale Law School, whose four grades are honors, pass, low pass and fail. Across the bay, the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law also eschews letter grades but has two levels above pass: honors and high honors.


To a lawyer, someone who has been trained to believe that meaning has no meaning, changing the name of something changes the thing itself. I'm pretty sure Shakespeare wasn't a lawyer.

“The new system includes a shared norm for the proportion of honors to be awarded in both exam and paper courses. No grading system is perfect, but the consensus is that the reform will have significant pedagogical benefits, including that it encourages greater flexibility and innovation in the classroom and in designing metrics for evaluating student work,” wrote Stanford Law dean Larry Kramer


This stuff is just pathetic.

Althouse blogged about this.

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